Harold and Jenny decided to go on vacation for a couple weeks. They did everything they thought they were supposed to: lock the doors, have someone watch their cats and water their plants, and make sure their heat was set to low so they weren’t charged for using it while they weren’t in town. However, one day the boy who was watching their cats and watering their plants noticed a small puddle of water in the basement. Of course, he thought nothing of it. He contacted Harold and Jenny, told them about the water, and went on his way. Fast forward to five days later the couple returned. Harold went to the basement to check out the “small” puddle of water. Turns out a pipe had cracked while they were on vacation, and now they were dealing with a flooded basement. That small puddle of water Jimmy had mentioned had turned into a small lake in the basement.
Some may say this situation is exaggerated, but this happens more often than people think. As the weather gets colder and many start taking vacations in warmer climates, the plumbing is often the first aspect of a house to suffer. When pipes aren’t run regularly, the small amounts of water left over in the pipes will collect in areas of the lines. If the temperature gets low enough, that water can freeze, which will cause the pipes to shrink and crack.
Now, some may think: “Well, what am I supposed to do when that happens?” There are a few answers:
- Turn off the water
- This will stop the immediate problem of leaking water.
- Call a plumber
- Get that leak fixed so it doesn’t become a future problem
- Call SERVPRO
- Have the water removed and the floors dried immediately
This is probably the last thing someone wants to think about right after coming back from a relaxing vacation, so there are also a few steps to take prior to leaving that can save a call to a plumber:
- Keep the heat above 55 degrees in the house
- This is something a lot of apartment complexes recommend for people who leave during winter breaks (usually college students), but this also applies to homeowners. This will reduce the likelihood of your pipes freezing.
- Let the kitchen sink drip
- If it’s an older home or older plumbing this will keep water from standing in one place
- Make sure that parts of the home that may not be as well insulated (garage, basement, attic, etc) are well-heated.
- Space heaters are a simple way to heat large rooms.
- Note: This will probably increase your heating bill, but that is drop in the bucket compared to the price of a plumber and mitigation team. Not only will you be paying for the repairs, mitigation, and dry-out, but your family may also be displaced for a while, depending on the amount of damage.
- Especially with colder nights coming, pipes in the garage, basement, or attic are sometimes the first to freeze up.
Remember that mold spores can start growing into colonies about 72 hours: waiting to call if there is water damage can only make the problem worse!
If you do have water damage in your home, please call SERVPRO of South & West Seattle for a cost-free estimate at 425-225-2227 today! We can have a team out to your home to assess and mitigate the problem immediately.